Freelancing Close to Home

Recently we’ve talked about the importance of global freelancing. While it is important to keep the potential international marketplace in mind, local freelancing is still an option.

In this post, I’ll talk about some of the advantages of freelancing close to home. I’ll also share a few tips that you can use to find local gigs. Finally, I’ll invite you to share your own tips for finding freelance work close to home.

Advantages of Working Locally

While your local economy may be struggling, there may still be local freelance opportunities available. Often when employees are laid off, companies turn to freelancers to handle their projects.

There can be some definite advantages to working as freelancer near to where you live. Here are six of those advantages:

  1. Face time with clients. While an extremely shy freelancer may cringe at the thought of meeting with a client face-to-face, there are many situations when personal meetings may help eliminate communication problems.
  2. The ability to use the client’s resources. If your client is local, they may allow you to come into the office a few days a week. This can be particularly helpful if the client owns an expensive tool (such as a specialized software package).
  3. It builds real relationships. Your local clients have the potential to become more than just your customer. Because they are local, if you hit it off your client may become your “in real life” friend. (You never know.)
  4. Some clients prefer to deal with freelancers they can see. This is particularly true if the client will be investing a large sum of money in the project. In fact, there are still some clients who will require a freelancer to work at least part-time on site.
  5. Client is more likely to see you as part of the team. If the client has met you face-to-face, they are more likely to think of you as part of their team rather than an outsider. This means they are more likely to keep you “in the loop” when it comes to updates and changes.
  6. Local clients lead to local referrals. Having local clients tends to build on itself. Many local professionals know each other and if they like the work that you do, they are more likely to recommend you to their colleagues.

Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of working with local clients, it’s time to go out and find some. :)

How to Find Local Gigs

While you may wish to add some local work to your schedule, do you know how to do it? Here are six techniques you can use to find local gigs for your freelancing business:

  1. Direct mail. Develop a letter highlighting your freelancing specialty and send it to local businesses in a 20 mile radius (for most this is a reasonable driving distance of less than an hour). Follow through with a phone call to see if it was received.
  2. Local networking events. Attend local business networking events. Make a point to meet at least two new people each time that you do. If you’re shy, these practical networking tips may help.
  3. Take classes. Bypass online training opportunities for live, local training and you’ll have the chance to get to know other professionals in the class. Where can you find live training classes? Try your local college or business training center.
  4. Local professional organizations. If your specialty has a professional organization that meets regularly, consider joining it and attending the meetings. Many professional organizations operate a job bank for members that is open to freelance members as well.
  5. People you already know. One of the best sources to find local work is through friends, family, and acquaintances who you already know. Even if they, themselves, can’t hire you they may know of someone else who can.
  6. Job advertisements. Of course, the final place to find local freelance opportunities is obvious, but many freelancers overlook job advertisements. Many businesses still advertise for contract employees. Make it a point to check job listings regularly.

Now that you know the benefits of freelancing locally and how to find local freelancing gigs, it’s time to hear from the freelance community.

Your Turn

Local clients can be a good addition to your client mix.

How many of your clients are local? How did you find them? Share your answers in the comments.

Image by Diana Parkhouse